Last Monday was just a one day primer trying to get my girlfriend her first antelope and maybe get one out of the way for me too.
This weekend was our main group hunt that was starting to grow a little too large. However, we still got it done, going 10 for 10 in 2.5 days. It probably helped that one of the guys with 2 tags didn't show up, but I'd still like to think we could have filled those too.
We left the house a little before 4am, with Katie, myself, my buddy Adam and his son Suman. First group we found on the checkerboarded land was barely a minute out of the town we would be staying in. It was a large herd, with just enough cover for us to quickly to within 160 yards of a doe in heavy greasewood (for the 2nd time in a week).
She offered up a high shoulder shot, and my buddy took it with his .243, dropping her on the spot. One antelope down before 7:30am.
All packed up by about 8am:
Next up was Adam again in the same greasewood bottom that I head shot my doe in last week. As we made our stalk, we could see a white butt flashing in and out of the greasewood, but it was just a buck. We set up on him, hoping the does would pile on out from behind the hill. Another buck came out, but still no does. Eventually we decided to make the move, but by the time the does were 800 yards away in wide open stuff, so we let them be.
After a spin around a walk in area that was very productive last year (but was barren on Monday too), we came back through to a state section that had some antelope in the wide open. We made a quick stalk under the bluff and peeked up to find them at 211 yards. As Adam was thinking about shooting, his son said he had to pee and couldn't hold it. I quickly crawled back with him to let him take care of business. The antelope may have seen us moving because Adam felt like he was spotted then. Took a shot while his son was peeing, and it wasn't a great shot, but a quick follow up did the trick.
Rest of the day was pretty unproductive for us. A whole lot story telling for the boy and looking at unapproachable antelope for Katie. Ryan managed to take one at 330 yards before noon with another guy who came up with him, just to learn how to gut an antelope. Mike showed up closer to 5 and put one down with "creative shot placement" at 315 yards.
The next morning Katie and I went out with Ryan, while Mike went out with Adam and Suman.
After quickly searching some of the easier to get to country for Katie, we spent the rest of the time in a unit where only Ryan and I had tags. First stalk was a long one, taking about 45 minutes. It was a large herd, with some stragglers well within range, but some bushes and longer grasses were making it difficult for us to get a comfortable shot. Eventually a doe had had enough of us peeking over the hill at her and finally gave me a shot at an estimated 320ish. She was slightly quartering away and as soon as she stopped, I whacked her with the 7mm. She ran about 30 yards and fell over.
Next up we managed to find several herds in some checkerboard all hanging out too close to some cliffs that we could use to our advantage. Ryan didn't have a shot on the first one, so I took it at 240 yards, quartering towards, punching her through the neck and shoulder at downhill angle. All tagged out.
After that was Ryan's turn, where we stalked our way down the cliffs, through a little drainage. He flubbed the shot way high at 200 yards with his .30-06 and 130 TTSXs, spooking the antelope. In disbelief, we tried to check zero on a piece of wood, confirming that there was something way wrong.
He switched guns to his 325 WSM, and about 5 minutes later, we were back in position at 315 yards below another ridge. This time he connected and was tagged out.
Now we had to drive back to the other unit for Katie's last tag. We found a great opportunity for her on another piece of checkerboard BLM. The doe spotted our heads peeking over the hill at about 100 yards, and I told Katie to just stay still as she's going to keep coming up to investigate. At 60 or 70 yards, her chest was now exposed and Katie took her with her .308, hitting a little high in the neck, completing our limit.
Mike and Adam managed to put down one early in the day, and we all decided to come back to the motel early and feast. We had one more day to hunt, and just one tag to fill, so there was no sense pushing it.
Sunday morning by about 8, on a half section of BLM, Adam managed to finish the job from about 250 yards with his 243.
And that's a wrap for now. Adam and I still have one tag that goes until December, but with plenty of meat in the freezer (we're actually still processing), we should have no pressure on the rest of our elk and deer hunts.
Oh yeah, and guns and loads used were:
Winchester M70 faux Sporter Deluxe
7mm Rem Mag
150 Ballistic Tip
165 Grand Slam
Ruger 77 Varmint
95 grain Ballistic Tip
110 grain Barnes TTSX
130 grain TTSX
Winchester M70 Coyote Light
220 grain A Frame